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Chelsea - Mission Impossible album review

Punk veterans return

Cover art for Chelsea - Mission Impossible album

Last year’s reissue of their early studio singles reminded us of just what a vital force Chelsea were in the early London punk scene, and even though they never made top billing, frontman Gene October has kept fighting the good fight ever since.

This, their eleventh studio album, once again featuring Right To Work-era guitarist James Stevenson, comes two years after Saturday Night Sunday Morning, and all the requisite elements are once again present and correct: urgent, chugging guitar, fist-pumping choruses and some infectious hooks.

Yet there’s just that extra ragged edge missing. October’s voice, as it ages, has an unseemly tinge of Clive Dunn about it, while the growing-old-disgracefully lyrics don’t always make sense (‘Life is just a game of poker, I’ll just spin the wheel and land on black’), to the point where there’s just a slight sense that the band are essentially just going through the motions. Pretty entertaining motions, at times, but motions nonetheless.

Johnny Sharp
Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock